1. Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme
1.1 The University operates a Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) under which each module is assigned a level and a number of credit points reflecting the value of the module or unit.
1.2 The scale, which is based on 120 credit points for each academic year of full-time study is widely accepted in universities throughout the United Kingdom and is intended to facilitate transfer between institutions. It is also compatible with the European Credit Transfer Accumulation System (ECTS) which uses a scale of 60 credit points for each academic year of study. Queen’s University CATS points are converted to ECTS points by dividing the Queen’s points by two. ECTS points are converted to Queen’s points by multiplying the ECTS points by two.
1.3 Credit is awarded on successful completion of a module.
1.4 A module of value 1.0 is 20 points. Other module values or units are rated pro-rata, with a minimum credit of ten points (value of 0.5). See Regulations for Students 1.9-1.10.
1.5 There is no gradation of credit points for different levels of performance.
1.6 Subject to the agreement of the Head of School concerned (or nominee), students may transfer credit gained at this or another University, provided that the credit has not contributed to another degree or other qualification (see Procedures for Recognition of Prior Learning 5.4). Credit awarded for courses undertaken elsewhere will be so designated on transcripts issued by this University.
1.7 The general limit for the validity of credit is 10 years. Lower limits may be set for particular subjects, and these will be found in the relevant Programme Specification.
2. Programme Requirements
2.1 Postgraduate Taught Programmes
2.1.1 To qualify for a Postgraduate Certificate, the credits gained must amount to at least 60 and meet the requirements of the relevant Programme Specification.
2.1.2 A person who has been awarded a Postgraduate Certificate from this University shall be admitted on request to a related programme in which this University offers a Postgraduate Diploma or Master's Degree. This is conditional on:
- The continuing validity of credit (see 1.7).
- A pre-existing relationship between the Postgraduate Certificate and the Postgraduate Diploma or Master's Degree, outlined in the relevant Programme Specifications.
- Any applicable visa and immigration requirements being met.
- The person agreeing to surrender the Postgraduate Certificate to the University on successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma or Master's Degree, except in cases where continuing possession of the Postgraduate Certificate is a professional requirement.
- Confirmation that the person has not previously been required to withdraw from the specific Postgraduate Diploma or Master's Degree programme.
- Any further conditions outlined within the relevant Programme Specification.
2.1.3 To qualify for a Postgraduate Diploma, the credits gained must amount to at least 120 and meet the requirements of the relevant Programme Specification.
2.1.4 A person who has been awarded a Postgraduate Diploma from this University shall be admitted on request to a related programme in which this University offers a Master’s Degree. This is conditional on:
- The continuing validity of credit (see 1.7).
- A pre-existing relationship between the Postgraduate Diploma and the Master’s Degree, outlined in the relevant Programme Specifications.
- Any applicable visa and immigration requirements being met.
- The person agreeing to surrender the Postgraduate Diploma to the University on successful completion of the Master’s Degree, except in cases where continuing possession of the Postgraduate Diploma is a professional requirement.
- Confirmation that the person has not previously been required to withdraw from the specific Master’s Degree programme.
- Any further conditions outlined within the relevant Programme Specification.
2.1.5 To qualify for a Master’s Degree, the credits gained must amount to at least 180 and meet the requirements of the relevant Programme Specification.
2.2 Module Enrolment and Requirements
2.2.1 The Head of School shall be responsible for putting in place the mechanisms for ensuring that all students are properly enrolled on the correct modules.
2.2.2 Heads of School are responsible for ensuring that students are informed of the requirements for passing a module not later than the first lecture of the module. No change may be made to either the contents or assessment after this without the written permission of the Director of Education and Student Services and a revised statement must then be issued to students.
2.2.3 A Head of School is responsible for ensuring that procedures are in place to monitor the progress of students taking modules taught by his/her School whether or not they are registered for a programme in the School, for example, in the case of joint programmes. The Head of School within which students are registered for a programme is responsible for monitoring the progress of students on that programme.
2.2.4 A prime role of Advisers of Studies and Personal Tutors is to help students having difficulties with their courses to overcome these, if necessary, by selecting different options or different programmes.
Students experiencing any academic difficulty should consult their Adviser of Studies or Personal Tutor at an early stage.
2.2.5 Choice of modules is subject to the constraints of timetabling and module availability.
2.2.6 Students may not change the modules for which they are enrolled without the formal written approval of their Adviser of Studies. No such changes will be permitted after the second week of the relevant semester, except where there are exceptional circumstances. If the Adviser of Studies, with the approval of the Chair of the School Exceptional Circumstances Committee agrees that there are exceptional circumstances students may be permitted to take a replacement module in a subsequent semester.
2.2.7 The number of students taking any particular module may be restricted by the University’s academic plan or the availability of teaching resources, space or equipment.
2.2.8 Not every module listed in the online Qsis Course Catalogue may be available every year.
2.2.9 All modules, programmes and subjects shall be subject to review in accordance with procedures laid down by Academic Council.
3. Examinations and Assessment
3.1.1 There are two distinct groups of assessments:
- Continuous Assessment/Coursework – essays, projects, reports, portfolios etc.
- Examinations/Tests – remote examinations, timed take home assessments (THA), in-person examinations/practicals, class tests etc.
3.1.2 Formal examinations shall be held during the designated assessment period and in August/September, except where professional bodies require formal examinations to be scheduled outside these periods, or where otherwise approved by the Pro-Vice Chancellor Education and Students.
3.1.3 Forms of assessment other than formal examinations may take place at any point in the academic year.
3.1.4 All in-person examinations administered by the Examinations Office will be conducted by means which ensure anonymity for the students.
3.1.5 The decision on whether to attempt the examination or submit the assessed work, and the consequences of that decision shall remain the sole responsibility of each student. It is the responsibility of each student to ensure that they undertake the assessment only if they are fit to do so. By submitting or attempting an assessment, a student is confirming that there is no reason why their performance would be adversely affected or why they may subsequently bring forward a request for exceptional circumstances.
3.2 Late Submission of Continuous Assessment/ Coursework
3.2.1 Continuous assessment/coursework, including dissertations, submitted after the deadline will be penalised at the rate of 5% of the total mark awarded for that component for each calendar day late up to a maximum of five calendar days, after which a mark of zero shall be awarded, i.e., up to one calendar day is - 5%; up to two calendar days is -10%; up to three calendar days is - 15%, etc. This excludes University closure days. The late penalty will apply to the continuous assessment/coursework component mark only and not to the overall module mark.
3.2.2 Exemptions shall be granted to 3.2.1 only if there are exceptional circumstances, and where the student has made a case in writing to the School Office within three working days of the deadline for submission or where a concession has been agreed on the grounds of a student’s disability. A list of guidelines on acceptable exceptional circumstances is contained in the Exceptional Circumstances Procedure. Extensions to deadlines shall be proportionate to the impact of the exceptional circumstances.
3.3 Conduct of Students during In-Person Examinations
3.3.1 Students shall be admitted to the examination hall not earlier than twenty minutes before the start of the examination and on the instructions of the senior invigilator.
3.3.2 Students shall not be permitted to enter the hall later than 30 minutes after the start of the examination. However, senior invigilators may dispense with this rule where they are satisfied with the explanation given for the late arrival and where they are satisfied that there has been no opportunity for communication with any students who have already left the hall.
3.3.3 All work must be written in the official script books provided.
3.3.4 Students must not remove script books from the examination hall.
3.3.5 Students in an examination hall must not have in their possession any unauthorised means whereby they may improperly obtain assistance in their work; neither must they by any improper means, directly or indirectly, obtain or seek to obtain assistance in their work, or give or seek to give assistance to any other student.
3.3.6 The use of calculators or other materials must be specifically authorised on examination papers. Students are bound by Schools’ own regulations on the use of calculators in examinations and it is the responsibility of students to familiarise themselves with these regulations.
3.3.7 Any invigilator who has reason to suspect a student of dishonest behaviour such as described in regulations 3.3.2 – 3.3.6 above shall follow the Procedures for Dealing with Academic Offences.
3.3.8 Students shall not be allowed to leave the examination hall before 45 minutes have elapsed from the start of the examination or within 15 minutes of its conclusion except in case of illness or other necessity. Senior invigilators may re-admit students who have left the examination hall if they are satisfied that there has been no communication with any unauthorised person (see also 3.3.2).
3.3.9 Senior invigilators may, in cases of illness and late arrival as described in regulations 3.3.2 and 3.3.8, allow compensatory time not exceeding one hour. Senior invigilators shall report this immediately to the University Examinations Office so that invigilation arrangements may be appropriately amended. Immediately after the examination, the senior invigilator shall make a report in writing to the University Examinations Officer giving the times of arrival of the students, the explanations given by the student and the amount of compensatory time allowed in each case. The University Examinations Office shall forward this report to the School Examination Liaison Officer.
4. Mitigations and Adjustments for Assessments
4.1 Mitigations and adjustments for assessments are those for which any change from the normal regulations or procedures is proposed. They may be permitted under the following circumstances, where the appropriate procedure has been followed:
4.1.1 Where a student with a disability or long-term condition is registered with Disability Services, reasonable adjustments for assessment may be in place under an Individual Student Support Agreement, in accordance with the Student Disability Policy.
4.1.2 Where a student experiences a temporary impairment which is likely to have an ongoing impact on their studies, the Guidelines on Support for Short-term Impairments may apply.
4.1.3 Where a student experiences unforeseeable or unpreventable events or circumstances beyond their control, which impact on their ability to undertake a summative assessment, the Exceptional Circumstances Procedure may apply.
4.1.4Where a student is eligible for academic flexibility under the Elite Athlete Programme at Queen’s, the Guidelines for Academic Flexibility for Elite Athletes may apply.
4.2 Special Arrangements for Non-Graduating Non-Native English Speakers
4.2.1 Method of Assessment
184.108.40.206 Exchange and Credit-Earning Non-Graduating (CENG) students are expected to undertake the same workload as home students and to undertake all module requirements including attendance at classes, submission of coursework, and assessment.
220.127.116.11 Credit is not awarded for modules where the student has attended classes but not undertaken the assessment.
18.104.22.168 Under certain circumstances, it may be possible to arrange an alternative to the normal method of assessment if, for example, a student is unable to be present for that assessment, e.g. if required to return to their home university to sit an examination or attend essential lectures. Students who will miss a Queen’s examination for such a reason must hand in work for assessment in lieu of the examination before departure. A letter of support detailing examinations to be taken and relevant dates must be obtained from the home university in advance of the request. After obtaining a letter of support from the home university, students wishing to change their method of assessment must obtain a Change of Assessment Method form from the Exchange and Study Abroad Team in One Elmwood, which each module tutor should sign.
22.214.171.124 Students may request to be examined by the submission of written work for assessment rather than a formal examination, on the grounds of limited ability in written English under examination conditions. Assessment by the submission of written work is often available in subject areas within Humanities and Social Sciences, but not generally in the Sciences, Engineering or Management. Such a request must be made in writing to the module tutor. A Change of Assessment Method form is available for this purpose from the Exchange and Study Abroad Team in One Elmwood.
126.96.36.199 The completed, signed Change of Assessment Method form must be returned to the relevant Office (as instructed on the Form) by the end of Week 5 of the relevant semester. Other relevant Offices in the University will be informed automatically.
188.8.131.52 Written work handed in for assessment must replace the examination the student will miss and should be in addition to the normal coursework. Students who do not submit work for assessment or sit an examination will have a ‘fail’ recorded on their transcript.
184.108.40.206 Students must attend classes at least until the end of the teaching period of any semester. Students who do not attend for the full teaching period will have a ‘fail’ recorded on their transcript.
220.127.116.11 Students should note that permission to undertake an alternative form of assessment does not constitute permission to leave University accommodation early. Students will be charged for the full period stated on their contracts.
4.2.2 Special Arrangements for Formal Examinations
18.104.22.168 International students attending Queen’s for one year or less as Exchange or Credit-Earning Non-Graduating (CENG) students will be permitted to take unmarked language dictionaries into the examination halls.
22.214.171.124 Such students will be permitted an extra 10 minutes per hour of examination, e.g. an extra 20 minutes in a 2-hour examination. Students must produce a letter from the Exchange and Study Abroad team to the Senior Invigilator in order to be entitled to additional time.
126.96.36.199These arrangements will not apply to non-native English speaking students who are enrolled for degree programmes where the qualification is awarded by Queen’s University.
5. Boards of Examiners
5.1.1 Subject to procedures and regulations laid down by the Academic Council and Senate, University examinations and assessments shall be conducted under the supervision and control of Boards of Examiners.
5.1.2 The Head of School shall be the Chairperson of the Board of Examiners, except where circumstances dictate that the Head of School delegates this authority to a senior member of academic staff within the School.
5.1.3 The Head of School shall appoint a Secretary from the School.
5.1.4 Subject Boards: The Head of School shall be responsible for ensuring that a Subject Board of Examiners is established for each subject taught by the School or in conjunction with a collaborative partner. The members shall be drawn from the academic staff teaching the subject. The Subject Board(s) shall consider recommendations made by the School Exceptional Circumstances Committee to determine the relevant students’ subsequent assessment opportunity. The Subject Board(s) shall agree marks for all modules in that subject. Boards shall include within their membership the external examiner(s) for that subject (see 5.2.2).
5.1.5 Programme Boards: The Head of School shall be responsible for ensuring that a Programme Board of Examiners is established to deal with every programme offered by the School. If a programme involves more than one School, the Heads of School shall decide which one of them shall have overall responsibility for the Programme Board. The Programme Board shall consist of one or more representative of each Subject Board contributing to the programme. For programmes involving more than one subject, the Chairperson and Secretary shall be agreed by the relevant Heads of School. The Programme Board shall include at least one external examiner from the relevant Subject Boards. The Programme Board shall be responsible for dealing with student progress and award.
5.1.6 Where appropriate, the Subject and Programme Boards may be combined into one single Board.
5.2 Appointment of Examiners
5.2.1 Internal Examiners: Internal examiners are drawn from the academic staff teaching the subject. Internal examiners shall be appointed by the School on behalf of the Academic Council.
5.2.2 External Examiners: External examiners shall be appointed in line with the relevant academic governance process on behalf of the Academic Council.
External examiners shall be appointed for a term of four years, with an exceptional extension of one year to ensure continuity. External examiners who retire from employment during their term of office can continue until the end of their period of appointment. Appointment will not extend beyond three years after retirement.
A person who has completed service as an external examiner may not be re-appointed as an external examiner until five years have elapsed since the end of their period of service. Former members of staff may not be appointed as external examiners until five years have elapsed since the termination of their appointment at Queen’s.
5.2.3 Special Internal Examiners: Where internal examiners leave the University before the examinations for which they were appointed take place, they may be appointed as special internal examiners in addition to the normal internal and external examiners.
5.2.4 Conflicts of Interest: Where an examiner has a link with a student which might influence their judgement, they shall inform the Chairperson of the Board of Examiners, who shall decide whether the examiner shall be involved in the assessment of that student.
5.3 Procedures of Boards of Examiners
5.3.1 The Chairperson of the Board of Examiners shall be responsible to the Director of Education and Student Services for ensuring that the approved procedures and regulations are followed by the Board and that the correct marks are published by the School.
5.3.2 The Secretary of the Board shall be responsible for keeping a record of all decisions and the reasoning behind them.
5.3.3 The minutes of all meetings of the Board of Examiners shall be retained by the relevant School and provided to the Director of Education and Student Services on request.
5.3.4 External examiners must annually attend the Board of Examiners meeting at which award decisions are taken.
5.3.5 In cases where external examiners are not present, they must be fully consulted by post, telephone or other means. It shall be the responsibility of the Chairperson of the Board of Examiners to ensure that the views of the other external examiners are presented to the Board.
5.3.6 If the opinion of the Board of Examiners is equally divided, the Chairperson of the Board shall have the final casting vote (in addition to the Chairperson’s original vote as a member of the Board of Examiners). In all other cases it will be the majority decision of the members present of the Board of Examiners that will be upheld.
5.3.7 If the Board of Examiners wishes to depart in any way from the normal examination procedures the Chairperson shall seek permission from the Director of Education and Student Services.
5.3.8 Where, in exceptional cases, issues of timing of student matters affect the decision-making capacity of a Board of Examiners, the Chair will be granted the power to make any subsequent decision.
5.4 Awarding Credit and Resit Requirements
5.4.1 Decisions regarding the award of credit shall be taken by the relevant Subject Board of Examiners by applying these regulations.
5.4.2 Assessed components of modules shall be marked to an integer on a scale of 0-100. For quantitative assessments, this may be any integer on the scale. For qualitative assessments, this must be a discrete point on the conceptual equivalents scale. A component is any piece of work which receives a mark.
5.4.3 To be awarded a pass for a module, students must achieve a satisfactory performance in all the module’s specified compulsory component (such as laboratory work or attendance at tutorials and seminars) as well as achieving an overall pass mark for that module (see 7.1.1).
5.4.4 Where a student has attained an overall pass mark for a module but has not achieved a satisfactory performance in all the specified compulsory components, the result will be recorded as incomplete. If the student completes the specified compulsory components satisfactorily by the end of the next academic year, or at such earlier date as specified by the Board of Examiners, the result will then be recorded as a Pass without altering the original mark, otherwise the result will be recorded as Fail with a mark equal to pass mark less 1. This will be treated as a second attempt.
5.4.5 Where a student has not attained an overall pass mark for a module but has met the required standard in one or more of the compulsory components, the student must repeat those components which have not met the required standard in order to complete and pass the module. The maximum mark will be the pass mark. The actual mark obtained will be recorded in the transcript.
5.4.6 Students may be permitted to retake failed modules, subject to programme regulations and regulation 5.4.16 below.
5.4.7 Where a student has failed to pass a module at any level, all Schools should provide an opportunity for students at all levels to resit, or exceptionally take as a first sitting, an assessment which contributes to the requirements for passing the module, at or before the designated resit period before the end of the academic year.*
*Professional, statutory or regulatory bodies may have requirements which do not permit regulation 5.4.7 – 5.4.11. In such cases the School must apply to the Director of Education and Student Services for an exemption from these regulations.
5.4.8 It is accepted that there may be circumstances when achievement of the learning outcomes cannot be satisfactorily assessed by a resit opportunity within the same academic year (for example, placements, major projects, some forms of group work and compulsory practical elements). In such instances, the reassessment will take place at the earliest possible opportunity, under the appropriate conditions.
5.4.9 Where there is more than one component of assessment for a module, regulations 5.4.4-5.4.5 provides the framework for identifying which assessments students should be permitted and required to undertake.
5.4.10 When a failed component of assessment is to be retaken, students may be permitted to undertake an alternative form of assessment in lieu of the failed component, but only if the alternative assessment examines the specific learning outcomes associated with the failed component.
5.4.11 Students who have registered for a resit will be required to sit the examination at the designated resit period before the end of the academic year, including registering and making payment for the resit examination, or provide good cause for non-attendance.
5.4.12 Students will not be permitted to re-sit, or take as a first sit, modules which they have passed.
5.4.13 Students will not be permitted to take additional modules to substitute for modules already passed.
5.4.14 When a module is retaken, the maximum mark for that module will be the pass mark. The actual mark obtained will be recorded on the transcript.
5.4.15 If a module is no longer being offered, students will have to take a substitute module at the same level as the original module. For modules substituted in this way, or where the student chooses to take another module in place of a failed module, the maximum mark will be the pass mark. The actual mark obtained will be recorded on the transcript. The substituted module must be identified as such at enrolment.
5.4.16 Students who have failed a module twice (one first sit and one re-sit in one academic year) must meet with their Adviser of Studies or Personal Tutor and normally will not be permitted to repeat that module again.
5.4.17 Persistent failures may lead to the student being required to withdraw from the University.
Note: A resit is a supplementary examination/ assessment to be taken by students who have not been successful in a previous attempt (See Regulations for Students 1.15).
5.5 Release of Module Marks to Students
5.5.1 The only module marks to be released to a student are those which have been agreed by the appropriate Subject Board of Examiners and signed by the Chairperson and Secretary and, where applicable, the external examiner(s).
5.5.2 The formal mechanism for providing marks to individual students shall be through the Queen’s Student Information System (Qsis).
5.5.3 Marks will be released to third parties only with the permission of the student.
5.6 Decisions on Student Progress and Award
Decisions regarding student progress and award shall be made by the relevant Programme Board of Examiners.
6. Student Support Meetings
6.1 Where a student has not met the requirements to progress, or is required to withdraw, the School is required to call the student to a Student Support Meeting within 10 working days of the deadline for the publication of results.
6.2 The School may also call students about whom they have a general concern following the publication of results.
6.3 The purpose of the meeting is to explain the academic progress decision to the student and ensure that appropriate support is in place.
6.4 Schools are required to have processes in place to ensure that the Student Support Meetings include at least two members of senior School staff who are appropriately qualified to advise students on their progress.
6.5 Where possible, Schools should ensure a gender balance in the membership of the meeting.
6.6 Student Support Meetings have no decision-making authority regarding a student’s progress and cannot consider evidence of exceptional circumstances which students present at the meeting. Students presenting evidence of exceptional circumstances at this point should only be advised by the Support Meeting to appeal to Faculty Student Appeals Committee if the evidence is new and could not have been presented to the Board of Examiners through the SECC.
6.7 All advice given to the student at the meeting should be recorded in the minutes by the meeting secretary.
7. Mark Scales and Awards
7.1.1 The pass marks for taught postgraduate University examinations are as follows:
40% Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma
50% Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and Master’s Degree
For Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and Master’s Degree, students must pass all modules before an award can be made.
7.1.2 The programme mark shall be calculated from the weighted average of the module marks, and shall be truncated to one decimal place. For students first enrolled in 2020-21 and thereafter, this mark must be used when determining postgraduate awards.
7.1.3 For Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma results there is a common mark scale as follows:
70+ Pass with distinction
60+ Pass with commendation
Below 40 Fail
7.1.4 For Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and Master’s Degree results there is a common mark scale as follows:
70+ Pass with distinction*
60+ Pass with commendation
Below 50 Fail
*For Master’s Degrees, a pass with distinction will be awarded only when the following three conditions have been satisfied: an overall programme mark of 70+ is achieved and a mark of 70+ is achieved in the dissertation module and a weighted average (truncated to an integer) of 65+ is achieved in the other modules.
These mark scales must be applied by all Boards of Examiners except where the Director of Education and Student Services has, following application from the School, granted exemption from their use.
8. Publication of Examination Results
8.1 The appropriate forms shall be signed off by the Chairperson and the Secretary and, where applicable, by the external examiner(s) and retained by the School or academic unit in question.
8.2 The results of the degree examinations shall be confirmed by the Boards of Examiners and published by Schools.
8.3 Any changes to published marks must be approved by the Director of Education and Student Services.
8.4 Students seeking a clerical check of their marks should submit a written request to the Head of School of the relevant School (i.e. the School delivering the module in question), c/o the School Office, within ten working days of publication of the assessment outcome. A charge of £10 will be levied for this service, but should an error be uncovered, this fee will be returned. The fee for the clerical check must accompany the request for the check.
9. Posthumous Awards
Where a student dies before the degree or diploma for which they are studying has been conferred, the following will apply:
- Where the student has fulfilled all the course requirements, has completed all the formal examinations and has qualified for the award of the degree or diploma, the University shall confer the degree or diploma subject to the consent of the next-of-kin;
- Where the student dies at an earlier stage in the course than defined in i. the Board of Examiners shall not recommend the award of a degree or diploma, but shall confirm the results of any module or part of the course which the student has completed.
10. Appeal Against a Decision of a Board of Examiners
10.1 For information on appeals against a decision of a Board of Examiners on progression, assessment and awards, see Academic Appeal Regulations (Taught Programmes).
10.2 Where a student is directed to take a period of temporary withdrawal by the Chair of a Board of Examiners (see Regulations for Students 1.20) and the student disagrees with the decision, the student may request a review of the decision. The decision will be reviewed by the Director of Education and Student Services in consultation with the Head of School from another Faculty.
11. Revocation of Awards
In accordance with the Charter and Statutes, the authority to revoke a degree or other award of the University rests with the Vice-Chancellor and President, following a recommendation by the Education Committee (Quality and Standards).